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Finding My Father Set Me Free

Finding My Father Set Me Free

In my last post, I talked about how after 38 years of not knowing who my father was, I finally found the answer. I thought that solving that mystery would just be filling in that blank that I had always wondered about. But it was so much more than that.

A few days later, I was on a walk just pondering all that had happened (there’s so much more to the story that I haven’t revealed yet). As I was thinking  about it, it was like God lifted a veil from my eyes, so that I could see that He had been working in this all along. I was a part of His plan, even before I was born. This thing that I thought was just a pain point in my life was actually so much bigger than me, and has a purpose greater than I know.

When I realized all of this, I felt lighter because I also realized that for most of my life I believed a terrible lie. This lie was the reason for my driven nature, my need to succeed. Since I was little, I always had to be the best at what I was good at.  I had a singular focus that I thought was my strength, but it really revealed my insecurity. I had a work ethic like no other whether in school, in a job, in fitness, or trying to start a business. It was almost obsessive. I realized it’s because I was trying to prove my value. 

I always felt like I wasn’t good enough, or that I was trying to run from where I came from. So I would wrap up my worth in my success. And when I failed, it would send me spiraling into a dark place. If my worth was tied to my success, what does it mean when I fail?

As God was showing me that He always had a purpose for me, I had to face the lie. The lie that said I was a mistake, an accident, unplanned, and unwanted. That may have been how some saw me, but it was never how God saw me. That truth has been so freeing. When God says I’m a valuable part of His plan, then who do I need to prove myself to?

 

When You See Your Face on a Stranger

When You See Your Face on a Stranger

It’s hard to even know where to begin. At the start of the year, I know that God has been taking me on a journey, preparing me for the purpose He has for me. He has taken me from someone who was always on the move striving for success to someone who sits still and waits for direction. He revealed to me that He wants me to write a book, but not just any book. One that comes from my greatest pain. This platform of pain will bring healing to so many.

So I began to write. I wrote as much as I could, but then I got stuck. I became frustrated, and began to doubt. Then God showed me that He is the one who will write this story.

Even as, I am typing, I realize that for most of my life I have believed a great lie, a lie that is trying to keep me from sharing this testimony. I never knew my father. I knew nothing about him, not his name, what he looked like, nothing. It was just a big blank space in my life. It has not only been a mystery to me my whole life, but it’s been a shame that I have carried around with me. That shame is a lie. It’s not mine to carry. I won’t let the devil use it to stop me from sharing one of the greatest miracles I have ever experienced.

The entire story is way too long to put in a blog post, so I am only going to share a small part of it. Last week, I got my results back from AncestryDNA. My DNA was matched to relatives who were clearly not from my mother’s side (I am mixed race). Thus began a journey of discovery. I traced these matches to my paternal grandparents. I had hit a dead end in searching for my father a long time ago. This seemed too good to be true. But it was true….

Over the course of the next few days, I finally got the answer to a thirty-eight year old question. I had found my father. He had died four years ago. But I found cousins, siblings, and a large Midwestern family (not what I expected, having been born and raised in the Northeast).

And God is still working an even greater miracle in the family that I never knew.  I will literally have to write a book. Only God could have written this story. I look forward to sharing it, especially with those who desperately need to hear it. 

Reckless Love (Yes, That Song!)

Reckless Love (Yes, That Song!)

There is this beautiful song that has been covered by everyone from Israel Houghton to Justin Beiber. Cory Asbury’s Reckless Love is just one of those songs that just grips your soul. There was something about this song that I connected with. As soon as I heard the artist’s story regarding the song, my jaw dropped. It was so similar to mine…eerily similar. In fact, there is even a chapter in the book I’m writing that includes my experience of how God used my child to show me His incredible love.

This song also has it’s critics. I have to admit on first hearing it, the “rule-follower” in me balked at the idea that God could be “reckless”.  But as I listened to the song, I understand that on human terms, His love for us is reckless. Most of us wouldn’t dare to love that way (nor can we apart from God).

Yes, He knows who are His, and who would be His even before He outlined the plan to save us. Yet it is still an amazing thought that He would be willing to sacrifice Himself for us, for me. He would seek us out, find us wherever we are, and call us out to Himself. It’s only now, in the latter half of my life that I am getting a glimpse of an understanding of what it means to be loved by God.

It’s a love that transforms you, if you allow it to. I want to live the rest of my earthly life basking in His overwhelming, neverending, reckless love.

The Prayer Challenge

The Prayer Challenge

About a week ago, I was enjoying my morning quiet time. I was reading in John 14, and I came across verse 13. It jumped out at me so I wrote it down, as is my habit when I journal during my devotions. John 14:13 says,

“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”

This verse prompted me to write down a simple reflection: Is this a promise for me? Is this something that I can claim today, or was it only meant for His disciples? Then I wrote down my action steps (I do these three things every morning: verse, reflection, action): Pray more in Jesus name and find out.

It’s been a week on this impromptu prayer challenge, not only has God answered prayer, but He has begun doing a transformative work in my heart. You see, the fact that I had to ask the question whether the promise Jesus made also applies to me revealed my lack of faith not only in prayer, but in the power of Jesus’ name. I have been a Christian for over thirty years, and I am just now discovering a huge problem in my relationship with God. It’s not that I didn’t pray. I pray all the time, but I don’t think that I have always prayed in faith. In fact, I know that I haven’t.

What happened when I started to pray in Jesus’ name? God showed up. He spoke to my heart about things that I needed to pray for, even bringing up names of people who were in need of intercession. He also strengthened my faith and our relationship. He is no longer a God who is far off. He is a God who is close, intimately involved and interested in my life. It’s not that He wasn’t before, but that I didn’t experience it more fully until now. James 4:8 says, “Come near to God, and He will come near to you.” I can testify that verse is so very true. Prayer changed me, is changing me.

There is power in prayer. It’s direct access to God the Father through Jesus Christ. He hears us, and He wants to hear from us. There is power in the name of Jesus. His name is “the name above every name” (Phil 2:9). Every knee will bow at the sound of His name (Phil 2:10).

He promises us, yes, for us also, that He will do whatever we ask in His name.

 

When God Makes His Desires Your Desires

When God Makes His Desires Your Desires

Psalm 37:4 says, “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Some interpret this verse to mean that if you follow God, He will give you everything you want. However, that is only partially true. What actually happens is that when we are seeking after God, He changes our desires to match His.

I am right in the middle of God doing some incredible transformation in my heart. I have barely given up my dream of being a successful entrepreneur, and God has changed my desires and my goals. He has given me a new mission and a new message.

I don’t say “He is doing it” lightly. What He has placed in my heart is so far removed from anything I would have ever wanted to pursue. Now, as I look back, I see that He has been preparing me for this exact ministry. I still don’t know how or when it will happen. But I do know that I just have to be willing and surrender to this process of preparation.

Has God called you to surrender? There is nothing that you could give up that wouldn’t be worth laying aside to pursue what God has for you.

To Live, First You Must Die

To Live, First You Must Die

A couple of days ago, I was listening to a sermon by Christine Caine titled, “I Can’t, But He Can”.  She made the statement “There has to be a death before there can be a resurrection.” Isn’t that the whole premise of the Christian life?

Romans 6:4 is a verse that is often quoted during baptisms,

Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 

“There has to be a death before there can be a resurrection.”

Yesterday, I put to death my dreams of having a thriving business. I let go of a tremendous opportunity to work with a much sought after mentor. I did that not knowing what would come next. I did it in obedience, and I did it in faith that what God has for me is far greater than what I could ever imagine for myself.

I mourned that death. I cried. I ate carbs! And in the midst of my pity party came new life. The words began to flow, and I began to write. God told me that I would write a book (several), but I’ve had writer’s block since. I could not get the words out. As it turned out, I was the one doing the blocking by not fully dying to my dreams. Almost immediately after I put to death my dreams, God allowed a new one to grow!

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. – John 12:24-25 NASB

“There has to be a death before there can be a resurrection.”

What in your life has to die so that you can live in the purpose God has called you to?